Biden official quits after threatening to 'destroy' a Politico reporter
Feb 14 2021
TJ Ducklo, the White House deputy press secretary, allegedly toldPolitico'sTara Palmeri that "I will destroy you" and accused her of being motivated by romantic spite when she was assigned to write about a relationship he began with an Axios reporter covering the Biden campaign and transition, according to Vanity Fair.
Ducklo was suspended Friday for one week without pay after Vanity Fair story published earlier that day a reporter from Politico was working on an article about his romantic relationship with a reporter from another news outlet.
Psaki said Ducklo will return after one week and will not interact with Politico reporters.
Palmeri, a co-writer of Politico's popular Playbook blog, began to pursue the story on January 20, Inauguration Day, and contacted McCammond for comment, according to an account in Vanity Fair. "That, in our view, was an important step to send the message that we don't find it acceptable". A spokesman for Politico did not reply to a request for comment, but two top editors released a statement Friday: "No journalist at Politico, or any other publication or network, should ever be subjected to such unfounded personal attacks while doing their job".
It's the first departure from the new administration, less than a month into President Joe Biden's tenure, and it comes as the White House was facing criticism for not living up to standards set by Biden himself in their decision to retain Ducklo. "So those were the steps that were taken and we felt it was a serious punishment".
In this February 9, 2021 photo, White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo listened as press secretary Jen Psaki spoke during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity. "I will destroy you", Ducklo told her, according to sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it. "No if, ands, or buts". "I'm not saying that is acceptable, but I just want to be clear that it was not about an issue related to the White House or a White House policy, or anything along those lines".
The President's spokeswoman tweeted on Friday that Ducklo was "the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President". She said he would not be assigned to work with Politico reporters again.
"There were conversations that occurred with the reporter, as well as editors at Politico immediately after the conversation occurred", Psaki said.
Biden offered his own standard for the conduct he expects from his staff in comments he made during a virtual swearing-in with staff the day he was sworn in.
"It was important that we took a step to make that clear", she said.